The AAE has been pushing for universal diagnostic language and techniques to create more precise diagnoses amongst industry professionals.
Until recently, there have been numerous diagnostic classification systems advocated for when determining endodontic infection/disease. The result of having such a variety of diagnostic systems has been confusion, misleading terminology, and, too often, incorrect diagnoses, leading to improper or unnecessary treatment. Thankfully, in 2008, the AAE held a conference in order to standardize diagnostic techniques and terms in endodontics. Since then, the push for universal diagnostics has been quite successful and has led to a lower percentage of misdiagnoses. As a result, it is more beneficial than ever for dentists to partner with endodontists offering a second opinion and more precise diagnosis.
How Has the AAE Changed the Diagnostic System?
Endodontic diagnosis is a complicated process that cannot be determined by examining a single piece of information. The clinician must piece together all of the available information to create a “probable” diagnosis. Included in the category of useful information is the patient’s medical and dental history. With a standardized system for diagnostic terms, understanding and applying that information is much easier. The AAE and ABE have approved a list of proper diagnostic terminology that creates a universal language amongst industry professionals. A glossary of the approved endodontic terms can be found on the AAE website
Though universal endodontic terminology is important, a universal diagnostic process is even more vital. According to the AAE, the proper step by step process for endodontic diagnosis goes as follows:
- Medical/dental history – past/recent treatment, drugs
- Chief complaint (if any) – How long, symptoms, duration of pain, location, onset, stimuli, relief, referred medications
- Clinical exam – Facial symmetry, sinus tract, soft tissue, periodontal status (probing, mobility), caries, restorations (defective, newly placed?)
- Clinical testing:
- Pulp tests – Cold, electric pulp test, heat
- Periapical tests – Percussion, palpation, Tooth Slooth (biting)
- Radiographic analysis – New periapicals (at least 2), bitewing, cone beam-computed tomography
- Additional tests – Transillumination, selective anesthesia, test cavity
The Importance of Partnering with an Endodontist
Though the enactment of a universal endodontic diagnostic system doesn’t seem to be of much benefit to a dentist, it goes to show that now is a better time than ever to partner with an endodontist. The reality is that dentists experience a higher volume of customers with a variety of needs ranging from a simple cleaning to tooth extraction. The diagnostic process is time consuming and detail-oriented. Partnering with an endodontist takes pressure off of the dentist by providing comfort knowing that this process will not be rushed. Offering a second opinion to patients builds trust and can ultimately lead to better preservation of their natural dentition. Not to mention that improvements in the diagnostic system have led to more precise diagnoses. So visit Professional Endodontics to find highly qualified endodontists in your area willing to provide you and your patients the comfort of a second opinion.
About Professional Endodontics
Professional Endodontics has been exceeding the standard of care in Wayne and Macomb counties for over 50 years. The team specializes with treating issues with the inside of the tooth and goes out of its way to provide a safe easy environment for patients. Each member of the practice is dedicated to providing excellence in patient care and values high-quality relationships with referring dentists and specialists. Each endodontist at Professional Endodontics has been individually chosen as Best Dentists. Thanks to contemporary advances in endodontics, Professional Endodontics is able to use innovative technology to treat and save teeth that have suffered damage to the soft tissue within the roots of the tooth.
Professional Endodontics now offers three state-of-the art facilities in Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, and a fully renovated Southfield location in the Comerica Tower. All locations offer the latest in advanced dental deliver systems, microscopy, and digital radiography.
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